Co-authored with Carly Botelho, Cisco Meraki Public Sector.

Becoming ‘smarter’ is something that municipalities, cities, states and even countries are striving to achieve. Through the process, many questions arise as to what it actually mean to become a smart, connected community. Where does one begin, what does it take, how do I benefit, etc.?

The Cisco Meraki team spoke with Stephen Dawe, CTO at The City of Opelika, Alabama. Stephen is on a journey to make Opelika a digital city, and he takes a systematic and thoughtful approach in deciding which projects to take on and which ones to leave on the sidelines. The conversation highlighted three steps that state and local government teams can take today to launch their own smart city projects.

1.  Stay true to your city’s mission

The City of Opelika’s mission focuses improving the quality of life for citizens, providing jobs through economic development, and being good stewards of citywide resources through sustainability. Evaluating smart city project opportunities that fit neatly into one of these focus areas makes decision-making more fluid and building strategies much more tailored to each particular community’s needs.

2.  Identify technical feasibility

When evaluating smart city projects, it’s important to remember that the goal is to deliver outcomes that take steps towards achieving particular goals, not just to deploy solutions for technology’s sake. Select the digital advancements that make sense to implement and will drive the biggest impact.

3.  Find the right partners 

Smart cities require abstract and complex initiatives, making it easy to quickly become overwhelmed. The smart city ecosystem blends a wide array of important actors, and the building of trust and nurturing of these valued relationships is instrumental in working together to create a successful result. In an urban setting, a number of private and public organizations must come together as a cohort, to develop, implement, and sustain an integrated and sustainable smart city framework.

For more from Stephen and the City of Opelika, listen in to this week’s webinar. You can find the recording here.

Even with well-thought-out and clearly defined goals, smart city projects often beg the question of where to begin. There are many places to get started – smart lighting, urban mobility, public safety and security just to name a few. At Cisco, we understand, and have seen first-hand, the great effort it takes to make the first steps toward smarter and more securely connected. We offer pre-packaged starter solutions, priced to include everything you need to start your transformation.

Each starter package includes:

  • All required Cisco products and services;
  • All partner related products and services – like sensors;
  • As well as access to our Cisco Kinetic for Cities data management platform.

For Las Vegas, the Kinetic for Cities platform and starter solutions approach provides the perfect foundation for kicking off their own smart, connected initiatives. The starter solutions help to identify the most pressing matters that need to be solved for, allow for simpler implementation and deliver tangible results in quicker timeframes. By seeking out Cisco, the City of Las Vegas knows they will have great partnership in creative smart city solutions to help solve even the most difficult challenges.

Visit our Digital Transformation map to check out more success stories from around the globe!



Dani Schrakamp

Global Market Lead | Government, Smart Cities, and Transportation

Growth Marketing and Sales